Service As An Armor And A Civil Affairs Officer: “Think Of The Peace Corps With Guns”

Mark Kimmey


Mark Kimmey was raised in a family where service was an obligation or a rite of passage. His eyesight prevented him from pursuing an Air Force career, so he joined the Coast Guard Reserve, looked at Annapolis, and also applied to West Point as a back-up. He received an appointment to West Point. This was a turbulent time. When he arrived at West Point in 1978, the academy was still reeling from the cheating scandal in the spring of 1976, and General Goodpaster was assigned as the Superintendent to reinvigorate honor at the Academy. Planning on serving five years and getting out, Kimmey “found a home” in his first unit and thrived serving in the All-Volunteer Force. He then requested assignment at the National Training Center, and enjoyed the training environment. In 1992, he transitioned to the Reserves and switched from Armor to Civil Affairs. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 as a Civil Affairs Officer assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. He retired from the Army Reserves in 2004 after returning from Iraq. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his West Point experiences, and his service in Iraq. He discusses being an Armor Officer, serving in Germany and at the National Training Center. He describes his deployment to Iraq, and some of the challenges his Civil Affairs unit faced. He recalls the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and how that day affected his life. Finally, he reflects on the big picture of serving in Iraq during the war.


conflicts Cold War Iraq War
topics Leadership Teamwork September 11 2001 Morale West Point History Honor Spring 1976 Cheating Incident
interviewer Peter Meyer
date 26 September 2011


name Mark Kimmey
institution USMA
graduation year 1982
service Armor / Civil Affairs
unit 1/68 Armor; 1/73 Armor; 1/63 Armor; 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
specialty Computer Systems
service dates 1982 2004